Eoin Morgan fired up for must-win clash with Bangladesh – who knocked England out of last World Cup – as hosts aim to hit back with a bang
- England set to play Bangladesh in third World Cup fixture in Cardiff on Sunday
- Hosts suffered a shock defeat by Pakistan in their second tournament match
- Eoin Morgan wants to exact revenge on side who dumped them out of 2015
If England could choose the opponents they would most like to face in a World Cup game that has suddenly gained extra significance they would probably not be Bangladesh.
After all, it was the one-time minnows — now one of the most experienced teams at this tournament — who defeated England at the last two World Cups and sentenced them to a humiliating early exit in Adelaide four years ago.
And England are meeting them on the Cardiff ground where Bangladesh announced themselves on the international stage by defeating Australia in 2005 in what became a taste of things to come in the greatest of all Ashes summers.
Eoin Morgan appreciates that England must win their game against Bangladesh
Now they have a chance to inflict another defeat that would leave England on a knife-edge in the tournament they were expected to dominate after picking themselves up from the nadir of that defeat in 2015 to become the world’s best one-day side.
So no pressure then, Eoin Morgan? ‘It was never going to be plain sailing all the way and we have spoken about that,’ said an unruffled England captain of Monday’s defeat by Pakistan. ‘It’s important now to see a good strong reaction from our side. We’ve talked about sticking to what we do well and looking to our strengths. Everything goes back to focusing on ourselves, how we win games and get the best out of ourselves.’
The strengths Morgan speaks of helped England rise from the ashes of the last disastrous World Cup, when their fate was sealed on that tumultuous night in Adelaide against Bangladesh. It left Morgan fearing his reign as England’s white-ball captain was over before it had really begun.
Liam Plunkett’s excellent record in Cardiff is likely to see him return to the England side
When asked whether he had feared the axe after that tournament — even though he had only been appointed immediately before it when England sacked Alastair Cook — Morgan said: ‘I didn’t really know is the honest answer.
‘And I didn’t know for the next month either. I didn’t hear anything but I wasn’t the only one in that position. Paul Downton (the team director) left and other roles were up for grabs. Whatever way you want to look at it my position might have been too.
‘But I did want to keep the captaincy and when Andrew Strauss rang to ask me to carry on I was delighted. Then he instigated the way we were going to play from then on. He said, “This is what I think we need to do,” and I said, “I completely agree”.’
Four years later and England need a return to their commanding best to settle any nerves they looked to be experiencing against Pakistan on the Cardiff ground where their hopes of winning the 2017 Champions Trophy ended at the semi-final stage. And they look certain to leave out Adil Rashid, their best one-day bowler in the last four years, and replace him with Liam Plunkett, whose excellent record in Cardiff includes four wickets against Australia last year.
It is understandable because conditions here do not really suit spin — which should be an issue for Bangladesh — and because Rashid is still suffering from a sore shoulder that could become a real problem as this tournament goes on.
Spinner Adil Rashid is almost certain to be left out as he manages a sore shoulder
Rashid has already had two cortisone injections in the joint and is keeping a third up his sleeve, so to speak, for later in the summer. If that does not work he is facing an operation and England will be desperately hoping the leg-spinner can regain the snap that was absent at Trent Bridge on Monday without the need for surgery.
‘There’s a chance we might go to four seamers,’ admitted Morgan. ‘The wicket we saw here was similar to the ones played here previously, with a bit of extra grass. And it has been under cover another day. There’s a chance we will change the team.’
The captain insisted the days of underestimating Bangladesh are long gone. ‘They are a very strong side,’ he said. ‘They beat South Africa and ran New Zealand very close. Their senior players have played a lot more games than we have but they probably don’t get as much coverage as other sides. We know them inside out and the challenges they present so hopefully we can overcome them.’
England should have too much for Bangladesh and should overcome their challenge. But if they do not then this World Cup really will get interesting.
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